As another general election rolls around, The Citizen's editorial board is once again preparing to make decisions and write up candidate endorsement columns for key races on this year's ballot.

A huge part of that process is the candidate interview.

This week, the editorial board is meeting individually at the paper's downtown Auburn office with the two candidates for the state Assembly's 126th District and the two candidates for the federal 24th Congressional District races.

The board, which includes publisher Rob Forcey, managing editor Mike Dowd, and myself, values the opportunity to ask direct questions of the candidates outside the spotlight of press conferences, televised debates and other public events that can tend to produce scripted and truncated responses. When we hold these interviews, we don't allow anyone but the candidate, so there's no aides or campaigns managers whispering in ears. It's only the person asking for the public's vote.

Those meetings have given us valuable insight through the years, and that has continued this year.

The interview isn't the only factor in our deliberations over whom to endorse. We also carefully follow ours and others' news coverage, watch debates and dig into what candidates are posting on their websites and other campaign literature.

The result of that work is an informed opinion piece — nothing more or less. This newspaper and hundreds of others around the country feel that editorials are an important part of our mission to be a community information source and to provide a forum for discussion, and that certainly should extend to the vital public issue of elections.

We'll be publishing the editorial endorsements in the Sunday, Nov. 2 edition.

•••••

Speaking of elections, I'd like to make students, parents and teachers aware of a cool nationwide program that's connected with our Newspapers in Education program.

The National Student/Parent Mock Election is an online voting exercise that starts this Thursday, Oct. 23, and continues for a week until Oct. 30.

This program gives students a chance to participate in a simulated vote, and it helps them learn about the importance of voting and elections in our society.

I sent out materials about this program this week to our local NIE educators. You can learn more about it at nationalmockelection.org. Check it out and consider asking your teacher to sign up.

Executive editor Jeremy Boyer's column appears Thursdays in The Citizen and he can be reached at (315) 282-2231 or jeremy.boyer@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenBoyer

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Executive Editor

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